The latest Onshape update includes one of the most highly requested features ever: Linked Documents. Let's take a closer look.

With Linked Documents, your Onshape parts, assemblies, and additional items from other Documents can now be inserted into your current Document. You will find a new “Browse Documents” command when inserting parts, assemblies, drawing views, derived features, and even sketch images and DXFs.

How does this help you?

In the past, you had to have every part or assembly that you wanted to work with in the same Document. Linked Documents makes it easier to organize your CAD data, letting you insert items from any other Document.

Linked Documents are dependent on an established version. So the first step to linking to a Document is to create a version. Versions are read-only and cannot be changed. This means your Linked Document will be stable and won’t change with every small tweak to the latest design. To create a version, select the "Create version" command in the top left corner of your Document.

After a version is created, you can insert that Document into others. You can insert a Linked Document when creating assemblies, drawings, derived features, and you can even link to other Documents when inserting sketch images and DXF/DWGs. To insert a Linked Document, select the Browse Documents command in the insert dialog. You can then choose the Document you want to insert.

You can even link to Documents that have been shared with you. If someone has shared a Document with "can view, copy, and export" permissions or higher, and it has an established version, it can be inserted into another Document. The coolest thing about this is the notifications you get when a new version has been created.

When a Document is linked, you see visual cues to indicate the link, as well as if any newer versions have been created. This allows you to update your linked version of the Document with the latest one. Just right click the linked feature and choose "Update Linked Document."

This process looks really simple (and it is), but it's also a very powerful capability that can change how you work. When working with another team, vendor, partner, etc., using a traditional CAD system, it was difficult (if not impossible) to know when a design had been updated. And after you learned the design was updated, replacing the model in your design with a new version was a real headache.

Now, Onshape's Linked Documents has eliminated this hassle and replaced it with two clicks.